Improving the Patient Experience with Anesthesia
A look at the latest product innovations to enhance patient comfort
Pain relief can play a major role in patient outcome and satisfaction. The ability to obtain reproducible, profound, and relatively painless local and regional anesthesia is the foundation of modern, patient-centered dentistry and facilitates the performance of advanced techniques and procedures. In today’s busy practices, efficacy and efficiency of anesthesia can have a significant impact on practice performance.
The dental industry has stepped up with innovative approaches to patient comfort—many of which patients have not yet heard but in which they would most likely be interested. Including these options in your anesthesia protocol can offer unique benefits to the practice and the patient.
Closing the Pain Gate
DentalVibe (Bing Innovations, www.dentalvibe.com) is a cordless, handheld, easy-to-use device designed to reduce the pain and fear associated with dental injection. This award-winning device uses revolutionary VibraPulse technology to send soothing, pulsed, percussive vibrations deep into the oral mucosa during the delivery of an injection. It is well understood that the brain readily adapts to a constant stimulus, and as such, the addition of VibraPulse technology is the key to the effectiveness of the DentalVibe. This stimulation is picked up by the submucosal sensory receptors, sending a message to the brain and effectively closing the neural “pain gate,” thus allowing for the comfortable administration of intraoral injections. Cordless, portable, non-threatening, and easily affordable, DentalVibe can be used with any dental anesthetic injection syringe to deliver comfortable injections in all areas of the mouth.
Eliminating the Needle
The unique features of Oraqix (DENTSPLY International, www.dentsply.com) make it essential for today’s dental practices. Because Oraqix is administered needle-free, it is a great anesthetic choice, particularly for patients concerned about receiving an injection. A combination of lidocaine and prilocaine, Oraqix is uniquely combined with a patented, thermosetting system to deliver pain relief where it is needed. Oraqix offers fast onset, with anesthetizing effects in just 30 seconds, allowing treatment to begin quickly. It is also site-specific, so multiple areas of the mouth can be treated in one visit, enabling full-mouth procedures. Duration of effect is approximately 20 minutes, so your patient’s normal sensation is typically returned at the conclusion of the office visit. In addition, the dental team can be confident in choosing Oraqix because it is FDA approved with a well-established safety profile.
Buffering Local Anesthetic
The Onset Approach (Onpharma, www.onpharma.com) provides a simple solution to make the local anesthesia routine faster and more predictable by using chairside buffering technology. Peer-reviewed published studies that have specifically evaluated buffered lidocaine with epinephrine demonstrated a significant improvement in injection comfort. Onset Sodium Bicarbonate Inj., 8.4%, USP Neutralizing Additive Solution is added to Lidocaine w/ Epinephrine as a neutralizing agent immediately prior to injection. Buffering raises the pH of the local anesthetic towards a more physiologic pH just prior to injection administration, which allows patients to become numb so quickly that the dentist can complete the procedure without leaving the patient’s side. Staying with the patient delivers a better patient experience, improves practice flow, and gives the dentist more time to spend on activities that matter most.
Dentists can introduce their patients to the reality of accelerating the reversal of lingering numbness with OraVerse (Septodont, www.oraverse.com). OraVerse (phentolamine mesylate) is the first and only local anesthesia reversal agent that accelerates the return to normal sensation and function following the use of an anesthetic with a vasoconstrictor—thereby improving the patient’s experience. OraVerse has been proven effective and safe for adults and children 6 years or older and weighing at least 33 lb. Patients who received OraVerse in clinical trials returned to normal sensation and function approximately twice as fast as those who did not receive it. Market research shows that 88% of patients may be interested in receiving a product like OraVerse, even though a second injection was required and that there may be an extra charge. This solution is easy to incorporate and ideal for common restorative and periodontal maintenance procedures.
Differentiating Your Practice
Fear of pain is universal. An estimated 30 to 40 million Americans avoid the dentist because of fear or anxiety. However, dentistry has never had such a wide range of choices to improve anesthesia onset and duration and mitigate postoperative discomfort. This ability to provide safe, effective, and tolerable local anesthesia is key to obtaining a more comfortable dental experience for patients—and ensuring regular appointments. Offering these options to your patients presents an opportunity to increase their satisfaction significantly, improve referrals, and differentiate your practice.